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How to Handle Anger - Life of Christ Part 72

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
October 16, 2023 7:00 am

How to Handle Anger - Life of Christ Part 72

So What? / Lon Solomon

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I don't know if you keep up with the boxing world very much, but there's a fellow named James Toney, who just not long ago became the IBF middleweight boxing champion of the world.

He's a 25-year-old man with a kind of a punch like a howitzer, and he won the middleweight title by knocking out Michael Noon, who was the defending champ, who was a 20-to-1 favorite against Toney. Toney's also an angry man. He's angry at his father. And in an interview in Sports Illustrated, here's what he said, and I quote, he said, my dad did my mom wrong.

He left us. He beat up my mother all the time. He shot my mom and left her with a mark on her leg. He made my mom work two jobs, and then he just left his responsibilities behind. He went on to say, I fight with my anger.

Everything is about that. I look at my opponent, and I see my dad. So I have to take him out. I have to kill him. I'll do anything I have to do to get him out of there.

I know where my father is. And I hope he reads this because if he ever decides to come out of the woodwork, I'll be ready for him. End of quote. Anger. Boy, that's an awful strong emotion, isn't it? And this morning we want to talk about anger because it's an emotion that demands our attention because as we've seen from the life of James Toney, that anger that's not handled properly, anger that's not handled biblically becomes a smoldering cancer that eats up your life.

And so we want to talk about it this morning and answer the question, how do we handle anger so it doesn't destroy our lives? Now, here in the passage that we have this morning, remember that Jesus has just completed the triumphal entry. He's just entered the city of Jerusalem during the last week of his earthly life. And the Bible says when he enters the city, he goes through the eastern gate of the wall and right to the temple.

And let's pick up the story there. I'm in chapter 19 verse 45. Then it said, and then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. Now, John chapter 2 gives us a little fuller picture of what these guys were doing that he drives out. It says in John chapter 2 that in the temple courts, Jesus found men selling cattle and sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. Now, what's really going on here?

Well, the answer is there's two things going on here. First of all, if you remember from other passages in the Bible, according to Jewish law, every male Jew had to pay a temple tax once a year to support the work of the temple. You remember when Jesus sent Peter to catch this fish and inside of its mouth was a coin and he said, now go take that coin and pay for your tax in mind. That was this temple tax that had to be paid once a year. Now, the problem was that Palestine had five or six different currencies floating around at this time. There was Roman currency, Greek currency, Egyptian currency, but the rabbis insisted that the temple tax could only be paid in shekels. And so people in order to come and pay their tax had to convert whatever money they had into shekels. It was the only acceptable form of money in which you could pay your temple tax and thus money changers sat at the gate of the temple and they would exchange your money for you, whatever kind of money you brought into shekels so you could pay your temple tax.

That was the first thing going on here. The second thing going on is that remember Jewish people would come from all over the world to sacrifice to God at the temple. And of course that meant they had to have a bull or a lamb or a goat or pigeons or whatever to sacrifice. Now one option was to schlep the animal from wherever you were coming from, drag that animal across hundreds of miles to bring him to the temple so you could sacrifice him. And don't forget, even after you got there, the animal had to be without blemish. The animal had to meet the exacting requirements of the priest in order to be sacrificed. So you took the risk of schlepping some animal hundreds of miles across the wilderness, getting there, finding out that the animal wasn't acceptable and you couldn't use it. The other option is to wait till you got to the temple, buy an animal right there on the spot that the priest had already said was okay, and then that was kind of easier. And so that's what the people were sitting out there doing.

They were selling bulls and goats and sheep and pigeons for people to sacrifice. And you say, well Lon, why was Jesus so torqued off? I mean, here were these nice people sitting at the temple just trying to help worshippers when they came. I mean, just trying to provide a nice service.

What was he so upset about? Listen, do you really think that Jesus was against the legitimate helping of foreign worshippers? If that's all that was going on here, you think he would have really overturned the tables and run these people out?

No, of course not. But there's some clue into why Jesus did what he did that's found in the next thing that he said. Look at verse 46. And when he drove them out, he said, it is written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it into a den of robbers.

Look what he called the guy. He called them robbers. And it's clear that what we have here is a bunch of carpetbaggers victimizing people, exploiting people, charging rates that were akin to raw thievery, because they had people at their disposal.

They had people right in the palm of their hand. Now, the Jewish Talmud actually records, and if you really care, I can give you the reference, come up afterwards, you can go look it up, records an instance, for example, where the sellers of pigeons were actually selling those pigeons at 90 times, that's right, nine zero, 90 times the real worth of the pigeons. And it was so bad, it even scandalized the rabbis.

That's how bad it was. And they got upset and said, you can't sell pigeons for that much. So there was extortion going on here.

Do you understand what's going on? Here come these poor people from foreign countries, they don't know squat about how the temple works. And these people are just gouging them beyond belief. Kind of sounds like going to RFK Stadium, doesn't it? You ever go down there, they sell peanuts for $1 on the street, $5 inside the stadium. You say, golly, what happened to these peanuts when they went through the gate? I mean, did these become divine peanuts?

What happened to these things? You ever had that experience? All right, well, they know once you're in, you can't go back out on the street to buy peanuts for $1, so they got you. And there's a sense in which you say, this is not right.

This is not fair. Well, it's one thing to do it at RFK Stadium, but when you're doing it to worshippers at the temple of God, Jesus just saw red. He went crazy. Now, what makes this even more despicable, friends, is that it was the priests who ran this operation. The priests were the ones who ran this thing. They controlled who was allowed to set up shop in the temple. They got huge kickbacks, the Talmud tells us, from these people who were selling there. It kind of sounds like the mafia in Atlantic City, doesn't it?

Yeah, well, it wasn't a whole lot different. And in fact, Josephus, the great historian, tells us that Annas, the high priest, who's mentioned in the New Testament, became filthy rich by running this scheme out there and getting all these kickbacks from all of these people who were selling and extorting the people. And the bottom line is, this was a monopoly that was being run by the family of the high priest and it generated a fortune.

And I like what one commentator said. He said, instead of praying for the people, the priests were praying on the people. Well, you got the point?

Yeah. Now, that's why Jesus went crazy and did what he did. And when Jesus saw this, he was incensed. He was outraged. And the Bible says he drove them out.

He threw them out. And Matthew gives a little fuller picture. Matthew's gospel says, he overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. And you get the picture, don't you, of Mr. Scrooge sitting there with his little neat piles of coins all over his table. And here comes Jesus just flipping these tables over and coins go rolling all over everywhere. And the merchants and the pilgrims and the rabbis and the priests were all down on the floor scrambling for the money, fighting for one another. It's like a mud wrestling contest without the mud, if you can picture that.

Like total bedlam. You say, Lon, how can you be so sure that this was what was going on once he flipped those tables? Hey, friends, these are my people. Trust me. I understand.

Trust me. That's what was happening on the floor down there. Well, it says, verse 47, that every day after that he was teaching at the temple, but the chief priest and the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they couldn't find any way to do it because all of the people hung on his words. And I think you understand a little better now that among the reasons why the rabbis and the priests were out to kill Jesus is that at least for one reason, you see, he was disrupting their financial empire. He was a threat to their financial well-being. And that's one of many reasons why they were determined, we're going to eliminate this guy.

One way or the other, we're going to get him. Now, that's the end of our passage, but of course, it leads us to ask the really important question and what's that? So what?

That's right. Now, next week is Daylight Savings Time. Don't forget to turn your clocks back, okay?

Because I need all of y'all here in the early service to say, so what? Because it could be a very sparse crowd if y'all don't turn your clocks back, all right? Yeah, turn them forward.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Turn them forward, don't turn them back. Well, if you turn them back, you'll be here real early. All right. Anyway, so what's the question we want to answer? Now, let's look at and think about the passage. What's the one thing about Jesus that really stands out here? Well, I think the thing that's impressive is that Jesus was mad. He was angry.

I mean, there's no doubt about that. And I think that prompts us to ask some questions about anger and I've got four of them that I want to ask an answer. Number one, what exactly is anger anyway? Number two, is all anger sinful and wrong? Number three, if all anger isn't sinful and wrong, then when does anger cross that line and become sinful and wrong? And fourth and finally, how does God tell us to handle anger so it doesn't become wrong, sinful and destructive in our life? So you're going to get all that done before we quit?

I am if you can listen fast. All right, here we go. Number one, what exactly is anger anyway?

You might want to take some notes. Webster says, it's the feeling that one has towards a thing or a person that hurts us, opposes us, offends or annoys us. But the key word there is it's a feeling. You see, anger is an emotion. It is a strong feeling that operates outside of the realm of our conscious will. You don't decide you're going to get angry. You don't will yourself to get angry. It is an emotion that happens apart from your conscious will. In fact, doctors tell us that anger is biochemical as well as it is emotional. That when you get angry, your body swings into action. And some of the things that happen is your body pumps adrenaline into your system, your blood pressure increases rapidly, your heartbeat goes up, your eyes dilate for better peripheral vision, your palms get sweaty, your mouth gets dry, and your muscles get a sudden burst of energy.

I mean, in a sense, within seconds, Pee Wee Herman becomes Arnold Schwarzenegger. You with me? There's a biochemical thing that goes on here. Now, the next question is, is all anger sinful and wrong? If you get angry, does that mean automatically you've sinned and done wrong?

Obviously not. You say, well, why would you say that so categorically? Because the Bible says, Hebrews 4, Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, yet without ever sinning. So in light of that truth, Jesus's anger here in Luke 19 was not sinned. Because if it had been sinful, then he was not the sinless Son of God who went to the cross to pay for our sins.

You understand what I'm saying? So Jesus got angry, and it was not sin in his life. That's why Ephesians chapter 4 verse 26 says, in your anger, do not sin. In other words, it is possible to get angry and not sin. Now, it's very interesting that nowhere in the Bible does God ever condemn the emotion called anger. But Ephesians 4 26 gives us some really important information about anger, and it tells us that anger may not be sin in and of itself, but that when people get angry, they're right at the edge. Anger brings people right to the precipice of sin, and it's very easy to go over. For example, it's when Cain was angry that he killed his brother Abel.

Check it out in Genesis chapter 4. It's when Moses was angry that he hit the rock and lost the promised land. It's when Absalom was angry that he killed his brother Amnon and put into motion the events that would eventually cost him his own life. It's when he was angry that O.J.

murdered his wife, allegedly, allegedly. And it's when you got angry, that's when you wrapped that golf club around that tree. That's when you got that traffic ticket. That's when you blew your Christian witness on the ball field and had to go back and apologize to everybody on the team. It's when you got angry that you said all those terrible things that you regret so much right now that you wish you could take a wrong shot back down your throat, but you can't. So anger in and of itself is not sin, but it often results in sin. And that leads us to the third question this morning, and that is when does anger cross that line and become sin? When does it cross that line and become destructive in our lives?

James Dobson in his book Emotions, Can You Trust Them? says that there are three times that this happens when anger becomes sin. Number one, when anger results in our hurting other people. Number two, when anger turns to bitterness, hostility, and rage in our own life, as it did in the life of James Tony. And number three, when the anger that we're feeling disrupts or damages our relationship with God. When anger drives us to hurt other people, when anger turns to rage and bitterness on the inside, and when it disrupts our relationship with God. Now folks, there are some of us here this morning who one of these three things has happened to us, maybe all three, because of anger in our life. There are folks sitting here this morning who in their lives anger has crossed the line, and we need to know what to do about it. We need to know first of all how not to let anger cross the line, and if it has, how are we going to go back and from God's point of view, how are we going to fix it? And that leads to the fourth and final question this morning, and that is how does God tell us to handle anger so that it doesn't become wrong and destructive in our lives? And I want you to take some notes here.

I worked hard putting this together, and I think it's going to be helpful to you. I want you to take some notes. So everybody get out a pencil and a piece of paper, and just because you take notes doesn't mean the guy next to you is going to look at you and go, hmm, got a real anger problem, huh?

None of that. So, you know, no judgments, just notes. Take out your notepad, and here you go.

Now, really, there's two levels on which we have to handle this question. How does God tell us to handle anger so it doesn't become destructive? The first is we need to know how to process the everyday anger, the everyday frustration that we all cope with, especially here in Washington, in a healthy way so it doesn't become a problem. And then second of all, if just simple processing doesn't deal with the anger in our lives, then we need to know how to resolve it biblically at a deeper level. So let me deal with each of those separately. First, how do we process the everyday anger and frustration we all grapple with? How do we do that in a healthy way so it doesn't become a problem? You know, you're somewhere, you're in some situation, you can feel anger starting to rise inside of you.

How do you deal with that? Now, this past week, our music and worship leader, Dean Chrisman, was on vacation, and yet there were some things that he really wanted to talk to me about. He said, Lon, I've got some really important things I need to talk to you about. One of the mornings this week, could you meet me early for breakfast, even though I'm on vacation? I really want to talk about these things.

They're really important. And folks, let me tell you, I am not a morning person. I said, well, what time are we thinking about? We said, well, how about 7 a.m.? I am not a morning person.

I mean, for me, dawn is about 9, 930. And so getting up at 7 o'clock in the morning and being somewhere 7 o'clock in the morning is definitely an act of love if I do it for anybody. So because I love Dean and because I care about him, because he's my friend, I said, all right, all right, all right, I'll do it. So Thursday morning, we said we're going to meet at the Marriott over at Fairview. And so I got up. I'd been out late the night before at an elders meeting, but I pulled myself out of bed.

I had circles down to about my upper lip, under my eyes. And I dragged on over there, and I'm sitting in the restaurant at the Marriott waiting for Dean. And it's 7 o'clock. It's, look at my watch, it's 705. Look at my watch, it's 710, no Dean. It's 715, no Dean. It's 720, no Dean. Now, I got to tell you, I'm starting to cook on the inside. I mean, I'm just, I'm starting to go through everything in my mind.

I'm going to say to Dean when he finally shows up, I'm going to say things like, I can't believe you. You're 20 minutes late. Man, I got up at 7. I was here at 7.

I was ready to go. If you knew you were going to be 20 minutes late, why didn't you say, Lord, let's meet at 7, but I'm going to be 20 minutes late. So you could sleep in 20 minutes, and you don't need to get there till 720, and I could have gotten 20 more minutes of sleep. I just couldn't have been awful important to you if you're 20 minutes late.

So I think I'll just say no to whatever it is you want, just because you're 20 minutes late. And I'm going through this in my mind. Now, if you'd have been standing there and you had been my therapist, what would you have said to me about how to handle the way I'm feeling?

Well, let's talk about that. How do we process the everyday anger and frustration that we all deal with? I have three quick suggestions to give you, three steps. Number one, make sure you get all the facts, or as one therapist says, we need to make sure we investigate before we detonate. And so many times, I don't know about you, but I get angry based on only half the story.

I'm ready to go off and detonate, but I haven't even checked out all the facts yet. Now, as I was sitting there at 720, I said, you know, to the lady, I said, save my seat to the lady in the restaurant, I'll be back. Maybe there's the possibility Dean somewhere else waiting for me. And so I headed out down the hallway towards the front lobby because I'd come in the back door, and you'll never guess when I got to the lobby who was sitting there.

Yeah, how'd you know? Yeah, Dean had been sitting in the lobby since seven o'clock going over in his mind all the nasty things he was going to say to me when I finally showed up. So both of us looked at each other and I said, I've been sitting in a restaurant since seven o'clock. He said, well, I've been sitting here in the lobby since seven o'clock. We weren't 50 yards apart.

And both of us sitting there just fuming at the other one, kind of put our arms around each other and said, hey, let's go have some breakfast, huh? Investigate before you detonate. Get the facts. Number two, not just investigate, but communicate. In other words, express how you're feeling. Don't repress it. Get it out in a polite way. Express to people that are causing the problem how you're feeling about the problem.

Get that anger out of your soul so it doesn't turn into bitterness. A couple months ago, my son and I were down in Florida doing some diving together. My oldest son, we went to the dive shop and they had some great sweatshirts in there that we love, little logo on them. And so I got a blue one and he wanted a green one. Well, of course, you know, because it's totally uncool to have the same color as your dad because they had blues and he didn't want that. So because I had a blue.

So we ordered him a green one and I was very careful to make sure they got it right. I double checked before we left town. They said, we'll send it to you. So we've been waiting and waiting and waiting. Meanwhile, it's starting to get warm.

We don't need a sweatshirt anymore. Finally, it came in the mail this week. And I was so excited. The package came UPS. I opened it right away and I peeled back the top of the box and guess what?

Yeah, were you in my house this week? How did you know that? Wrong color.

It was blue. And now years ago, I just would have, I wouldn't have called him right up. I wouldn't have expressed how I was feeling.

I just would have internalized it and I just would have, would have walked around the house and, and kick the cat. But, but no, no, I, you know, I called him up and I said, look, I got to tell you how I'm feeling about this. I've got to tell you, I went to extra trouble to order it and make sure the order was right. I'm frustrated. You know, we're running out.

I mean, we don't even need a sweatshirt hardly anymore up here. And I got to call and tell you how frustrated I am with the way you've done business and this mistake you've made. And I tell you, she was very receptive. I was very polite and it made me feel so much better rather than keeping that anger in on the inside and just fuming and boiling. Friends, if you really feel frustration and anger in a polite way, express it. And third and finally, not just investigate, not just communicate, but extenuate.

You say, man, you really needed a word to rhyme real bad, didn't you? What in the world do you mean by extenuate? Well, I mean, put it all in perspective. Let it become part of extenuating circumstances. Ask yourself some questions.

Do a little bit of self-talk like, okay, so they sent me the wrong colored sweatshirt. Is it really the end of the world? I mean, is this really all that important? Is this worth becoming obsessive compulsive about it and, you know, having my blood pressure go up? A good question to ask yourself when you're getting frustrated is this. In five years, what difference will this make? And if that doesn't work, ask yourself what difference will it make in a hundred years? Hey, friends, listen, there are very few things that frustrate us that in a hundred years are going to make any difference at all. Huh? And if we can put things in perspective and do a little self-talk, a little bit of self-therapy, man, it really helps us to calm down.

So here are the three suggestions. Investigate, make sure you got all the facts before you go off. Communicate, express how you're feeling, and extenuate. Put it in perspective. Now, for many, many of the anger and frustration situations that we deal with, simple processing like this will be enough. But, you know, sometimes this isn't enough because anger comes from being hurt. Most of the time anger comes from being violated or being wronged. And if we've been wrong deeply enough, if we've been violated and hurt seriously enough, then sometimes simple processing is not sufficient to deal with the problem.

Sometimes we have to learn how to resolve anger beyond simple processing. Did you see the movie Forrest Gump? Do you remember in the movie the scene where Jenny, his friend since she was a little girl, and when she was a little girl, if you remember her father sexually abused her repeatedly. And then years later as a grown woman, she and Forrest are out for a walk.

She's got her shoes in her hand walking through the grass in the springtime. And as they're walking around, they simply come upon, by accident, her old house where she used to live. Now it's deserted now, her dad's dead, nobody's living there, weeds have grown up all around it. But when she sees this house, and suddenly flooding back to her mind are all of the deep hurt and violation that that house stands for, if you remember in what I think is the most powerful scene in the movie, she drops her shoes, she goes running towards the house, she starts picking up rocks and throwing rocks at the house, banging them off the house, breaking windows in the house, throwing a dozen, I don't know how many rocks she threw until finally she falls to the ground and sobbing, lays on the ground. And Forrest Gump gumpily says, you know, sometimes I guess there's not just not enough rocks to throw.

Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks. Now when you've been hurt this deep, I mean there's a big difference between a sweatshirt that's the wrong color and childhood sexual abuse. When you've been hurt this deeply, then resolving anger is really an issue of knowing how to take deep hurt and let God turn it into healing. And I want to give you some principles for that.

I've got three to give you in closing. And let me simply say that, you know, even being here this morning and hearing these principles may not be sufficient for you to fix this. You may need professional counseling. You may need to see a professional Christian therapist. And I urge you, if you can't resolve this yourself, to go see someone. And if they're good and if they're biblical and if they're competent, all they will do is take you through the very three steps that I'm giving you this morning to bring you out with resolving that kind of hurt and anger.

But here they are. Three principles God gives us in the Bible to convert hurt into healing. Principle number one, faith. And by faith I mean believing what God tells us in the Bible about the hurtful things that happen in our life. Believing that God will, as he promises in the Bible, convert every one of those hurts into a positive thing, into a benefit, into a blessing, if we'll just trust him and we'll just give him time. That's what Romans chapter 8 verse 28 says. I know it's a trite verse, but the truth is still very real, that God will cause all things to work together for good if we'll just love him and if we'll entrust those things to him, he'll do it. And faith means that we have to say, Lord, I don't understand why you allowed this to happen to me. I don't like that this happened to me. And for the life of me, I can't see how it will turn out to be to my benefit or to be of any good to me or anybody else.

But by faith, since you promise it, I'll accept what you say, I'll trust you and I'll leave it in your hands. Now, dear friends, I don't care what the hurt is. I don't care whether there was incest in your family. I don't care whether there was parental cruelty, verbal cruelty, physical cruelty. I don't care whether there was a nasty divorce or whether you lost a child custody deal, whether there was a breakup of your romance and your boyfriend or your girlfriend dumped you, whether you were the victim of office politics or someone fired you or took job action against you unjustly. Those things hurt deeply and I know they do, but it doesn't make a bit of difference how deep the hurt is. The promise of God, the truth of God remains the same that God will take all the hurt that's ever come in our lives and he'll turn it into good if we'll just entrust it to him. This is faith and it's only when we're willing to believe God that we can move on to step two.

And step two is forgiveness. Now, when you've been hurt deeply, when I've been hurt deeply, that's the one word we do not want to hear. We do not want to hear a preacher say it. We don't want to hear a therapist say it. We don't want to hear God say it.

We don't want to hear anybody say that word when it comes to the person who hurt us. But like it or not, it's the word God gives us for healing. You see friends, God can't heal a soul that's full of pus. God can't heal a soul that's full of the gangrene of hatred and malice and bitterness and forgiveness. It's kind of like, well, it's kind of like divine Neosporin if you get my drift.

It's what gets the pus out of the wound so that God can heal it. Now look, I don't live in an ivory tower. I've been hurt the way you've been hurt. I didn't have a great family growing up. My parents were separated and almost divorced. I mean, when I tell you that I know forgiveness is not easy, it isn't.

You know that. When you've been hurt, forgiveness is very hard. But I have found in my life, and I know it to be true and it will work in your life, that God will give you the supernatural power to forgive if you're Christian.

He'll give it to you if you really want it. And listen, forgiveness is often misunderstood by us as Christians as saying to somebody, well, what you did didn't matter. It really wasn't all that bad. You really didn't violate me. And that's not at all what forgiveness is, my dear friend. Forgiveness means that we say to somebody, it's not all right what you did. It wasn't okay the way you hurt me.

We're not whitewashing that. It was wrong when you did it to me. It was not okay then. But God has done a work in my life and it's okay now. It's not, it wasn't okay then.

But it's okay now. And friends, forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation either. Reconciliation demands and can only happen when the person who hurt you owns up to it. And that doesn't always occur.

Many times a parent, many times a boyfriend or a girlfriend, many times a husband or a wife will not own up to their responsibility in a situation. And if they don't, unless both people involved own up, you can't have reconciliation. But you can have forgiveness because forgiveness is something between your heart and God.

It has nothing to do with the response of the other person. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself before God so God can heal your heart. So please don't confuse all this.

Let's make sure we've got it straight. Forgiveness. It gets the pus out so God can heal the wound.

And that leads me to my third and final step. Not only faith, not only forgiveness, but finally, an active reliance, an active looking to and trusting in Jesus Christ as the great physician to do the healing. What I mean is this, faith and forgiveness don't heal anybody.

They're merely pre-op conditions. And when we've met those conditions, or at least we're trying to meet them sincerely with God's help, then we're ready for the great physician to really do the work of healing in our heart that only he can do. And what the great physician does is he reaches down into our soul, he takes the wound that's there, and he applies supernatural stitches to those wounds.

He rubs supernatural vitamin E on that scar so that by the time he's finished, there's nothing there but pink new skin where the old gas used to be. Friends, God can get down to wounds in our spirit beyond where any doctor can get, beyond where any therapist can get, beyond where any drug can get, where only God can get, and God can heal them. How do I know God can do this? Because he's done it for me.

He's done it for millions of other people down through the history of the world. And my dear friend, God can and God will do it for you. Now it won't happen in a moment. It won't happen in a day. But you keep giving it to God and trusting God and actively relying upon God.

And God will do a work of healing in your soul. There was another man, another man who grew up in the ghetto, another man whose father ran away and left his family, another man who grew up with anger and bitterness towards his dad, another man whose mother had to go to work and work two jobs to support the family, all like James Toney that we talked about at the beginning. But this man handled it very differently than James Toney handled the anger.

He handled it the way I've been describing it to you and the results were dramatically different. Let me read part of his story to you. He says, in the ninth grade something happened that changed my life.

I almost killed my best friend. Bob and I were listening to a transistor radio and he grabbed it away from me and he changed the channel. And he said, you call that music? And he said, I grabbed it back and I started to change the channel back.

And I said, it's as much music as the music you listen to. And he said, wait a minute you and before he could even finish his sentence, this man writes, my anger flooded to the surface and completely took over me. I reached in my back pocket and took out the camping knife that I carried with me. I opened it and with all of the strength I had, I thrust the blade towards the middle section of my best friend.

The blade hit his belt buckle and snapped and fell onto the ground. And there I was holding the handle in my hand and we both stood there frozen. Suddenly I realized that in a moment of anger, I had almost killed my best friend.

And had it not been for that belt buckle, my friend would be lying on the ground in front of me dying. My friend said nothing. His eyes were wide. He just stared at me. And I muttered, I'm sorry.

I'm so sorry. And I dropped the handle and I ran for home. And when I got home, I ran and locked myself in my bathroom and I got down on the floor and I cried and I sobbed. And I said, I remembered that my mom had told me to pray.

This came flooding back to my mind. I remember that my teachers in religious school had told me that when we're in trouble, we can pray and we can ask God and he'll help us. And so there in that hot, sweaty bathroom, I cried out and I said, oh God, I've been trying to handle this anger in my own strength for months and for years and I was so sure I could do it.

But now I believe I can't. God, I need your help. If you don't do something about this anger, if you don't take it out of my soul, it's going to destroy me. God, I know that you can help me.

I believe that you can help me and God, you've got to help me because you're my only hope. He said, and there in the quietness of that bathroom, God began to do a work in my life and God took that anger out of my life and it's never returned. Now, I don't know if you recognize who this man is, but his name is Ben Carson.

You say, now, Lon, that still doesn't ring much of a bell. Well, Ben Carson is a black man who grew up in the slums of Detroit and today Ben Carson is the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital here in Baltimore. He's one of the most renowned pediatric neurosurgeons in the world.

And we had the opportunity to run into Ben Carson several years ago when my daughter was hospitalized up at Johns Hopkins and he is the kindest, gentlest human being you would ever want to meet. You could never believe it was the same man in the book. But here was a man who had a horrible anger problem, but he handled it the way God told him to. He relied on the great physician to do something in him he couldn't do himself. My dear friend, if anger is a part of your life, if you've been hurt badly, as many of us have, and if you're still carrying that bitterness and that rage in your life, if it's hurt your relationship with God, if it's damaged your relationship with people, can God fix it?

Yes, he can. If you're willing to trust him, show faith in his promises, if you're willing to ask his help to forgive the person that hurt you, and if you're willing to place your dependence not on yourself, not on your therapist, not on drugs, not on doctors, but on the great physician himself, Jesus Christ, he'll heal your whole heart, he'll heal your soul. Jeremiah says, is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician in Israel? Well, the song answers at the great Negro spiritual and says, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul. There is a balm in Gilead, the great physician himself, who makes the wounded whole. And God wants to do that for you, if you'll just let him. Let's pray together. Dear Heavenly Father, I'm so grateful for the fact that the Word of God addresses real life issues, real life struggles and problems, like anger and hurt and bitterness. And Lord Jesus, I know there are many of us here who've been hurt deeply in our lives by people, and we're still carrying the emotion, the anger, the bitterness, the rage in our soul.

Simple processing of everyday frustration is not enough to fix this. And I'm so grateful that the great physician stands ready to deal with our lives at a level where no doctor, no therapist, no scalpel, no drug can ever reach, at a supernatural level, to heal us, to make us whole. I pray for guys and gals here today who need that ministry in their heart, Lord, that you would take what we've talked about, and that you would motivate them to trust you, to ask for your help to forgive, and to place all of their faith and reliance on Jesus Christ, the great physician, to do the work of healing that's so needed in their hearts. Thank you, Lord, that you are a healer. And thank you you'll heal any heart that puts its faith and its trust in you. Do that for the people who are here and need that today, Lord. And I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-18 14:53:24 / 2023-10-18 15:09:43 / 16

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